HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Pennsylvania’s secretary of state stepped down on Friday, as she said she would do earlier this week.
Kathy Boockvar said she was taking responsibility for a clerical error that prevented a constitutional amendment on child sexual abuse from being placed on the May ballot.READ MORE: Drivers Feeling The Pain At The Pumps As Gas Prices Continue To Rise Across Pittsburgh Area
But some state lawmakers think they have found another way to get the proposed amendment to the voters.
It takes at least two years to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, but the Constitution allows an expedited process for major emergencies if two-thirds of the state House and Senate agree.
Two state representatives want to use this provision to get their amendment on the May ballot.
“The one solution that is on the table right now is the emergency constitutional amendment. I think this is a very good path.,” Pa. Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.
If the Legislature acts quickly, voters will vote to allow victims of child sexual abuse a two-year window to sue their predators and their institutions despite the clerical screw-up by the secretary of state’s office.
“We’re trying to do the right thing to make up for the mistake and save this for the victims who have been waiting so long,” said Pa. Rep. Jim Gregory, a Blair County Republican.READ MORE: Allegheny Co. Council To Vote On Paid Sick Leave Bill
Further delay is not right, they say. Both Gregory and Rozzi are survivors of child sexual abuse, in Rozzi’s case by a priest.
“I can remember just like it was yesterday, the day when he took me into the shower and raped me with my childhood friend outside the door,” says Rozzi.
The current statute of limitations expires before most child victims are adults. The amendment gives survivors a second chance to hold predators and their churches, universities, scouting and other institutions accountable in civil court.
“I believe that many victims have yet to come forward,” said Gregory.
Both the House and Senate approved the original amendment, but the question now is, will the General Assembly act in time on this emergency one?
“We have a commitment to get a vote out of the House which, as you know, passed last week 185 to 17,” said Gregory.
The Senate has not yet committed to any particular legislative strategy yet, but Gregory and Rozzi expect them to act soon.MORE NEWS: 'Good Eat$ Downtown' Campaign Begins, Aimed At Bringing Business Back To Downtown Restaurants
“Waiting is not an option at this point,” says Rozzi.